Changed Rules Now! New Arizona Budget Avoids Tax Hikes with Accounting Maneuvers, ESA Adjustments

Changed Rules Now! New Arizona Budget Avoids Tax Hikes with Accounting Maneuvers, ESA Adjustments

(Central Square) – After hours of late-night deliberations on Friday, Arizona lawmakers narrowly approved a budget on Saturday.

In order to close a $1.4 billion deficit, the budget included numerous cutbacks and financial transfers. Numerous changes were made between the first budget draft and the final one, as well as cuts throughout the agencies. Throughout the day, votes were held on a number of lesser budget legislation, but it wasn’t until late at night that both chambers passed the general appropriations act.

Republicans and Democrats cast separate “yes” and “no” votes in the bipartisan vote.

The Democratic representative from Tucson, Consuelo Hernandez, expressed her pride in the budget’s accomplishments despite its imperfections.

The votes against included concerns about the opioid settlement language and rules pertaining to the Empowerment Scholarship Account.

Rep. Matt Gress, the former budget director for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, gave an explanation for his no vote on the budget.

“Since 2013, I have been actively involved in the budget of Arizona, having held the position of budget director,” the Republican congressman from Phoenix stated in a statement. “The state budget is a statement of priorities and a policy document. This year’s seems to be more concerned with “getting it done” than with “doing it right.” My vote was “no.” Bipartisan resistance exists for a purpose. Arizonans’ common priorities are not reflected in this budget.


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Before the vote, Representative Laura Terech, a Democrat from Phoenix, tweeted that some ESA limits were in fact started by the budget.

“The first few budget bills have been approved. We will now reconvene to vote on the remaining bills, including the K–12 law. The first ESA adjustments that Arizona has seen since vouchers were introduced are something I am excited to vote for,” the woman stated.

The vote ends with a divisive legislative session that saw a number of resignations, the repeal of the abortion law, and a heated vote on the referral of the border and immigration poll. Nevertheless, the Legislature, which has a Republican majority of two seats in each chamber, managed to complete its work before the fiscal year 2024 ends on June 30.

“It is unrealistic to think that there can ever be a flawless budget. Hon. Alma Hernandez of Tucson, a Democrat, stated as much before casting her vote in favor.

Governor Katie Hobbs declared that the budget would be signed by her.

“The budget of the state of Arizona is balanced, so residents may feel secure. Her office released a statement soon after the package’s passage, saying, “I’m grateful for members of the legislature who came together, compromised, and passed this bipartisan agreement.”

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